It has been 4 years since I first launched bendoregonstock.com. I opened the stock photography website after discovering the pain of sourcing local images. I had a handful of images that were sitting in my google drive collecting dust. They were nice photographs but I was not sure what to do with them. I was hesitant to post my images on sites such as shutterstock, adobe, and stocksy.
This blossomed into the idea of starting a local stock photography company. While there were a few around the area, there was not a product you could purchase and download directly locally.
Igniting the fun in photography
When the company first started it was a solo mission. I uploaded around 100 photos as a test and it started to take off. I originally sold photos for $5. (again a test) It was a lot of fun going to events and bringing my camera along.
It felt like a double win. I had the opportunity to attend fun events while being able to make a little cash. But it was starting to get too much. I could not go to every single event, so I reached out to another local photographer Nate Wyeth. Nate agreed and loved the idea of the stock photo agency.
Together we uploaded over 200 images in a range of sizes and offered different versions of our photos. The lowest offering starting at $10. The site was doing better and better each month.
Acquisition & partnership
In 2016 we were approached by a company for what we thought might be an acquisition or partnership. The company rep and I had a few phone calls but it was never clear what the offer was. After reviewing the contract they were literally offering pennies for our images.
It was incredibly disappointing after I was so excited for this opportunity. I never thought we would be on a phone call with this big corp. It was also dreamy to know what we had started was taking fruition. (Although what we are doing now is not nearly enough to make a living on)
Why this is important to the story
It made me realize that I want to start something bigger than Bend Oregon Stock. Companies are ripping photographers off for their quality work. I want to start something that helps the artist. It is not about making a profitable company but making profitable artists.
I am excited to start working on the next phase of this project. I will be sharing details over the next few months.
Successes so far
So far our pricing model has been incredibly fair to support small businesses. In fact most of our customer base is small business. Our top clients are real estate agents and local boutique hotels.
The lead gens that come in for Nate are doing fairly well. Since I do not live in Bend anymore I pass all the work off to him (plus they request him most of the time). Again not enough to make a living on but it supports the habit of being happiest in the mountains.
Failures so far
I had a major failure of selling a photo that was not under the right license. Something that I should have sold for a lot more and the company got an amazing deal on an image. I felt a little used by the (big) company but at the end of the day it was my fault and I take ownership for that. I have since adjusted some of images for specific different use cases.
I have not given enough attention to BOS over the last year or two. But I plan on changing that this month. A lot of our images are starting to be dated.
I want to keep growing Bend Oregon Stock but I am excited for the next steps. Stay tuned as I will be working on this over the next few months.
My next major goal is to start onboarding more artists and photographers. Please reach out if you are interested!